These sturdy trees with their dense foliage and heart-shaped leaves, are valuable to a range of wildlife, including invertebrates such as aphids who thrive on the sap. They in turn create a honeydew loved by bees and produced in such quantities that it drips down on to leaves and for example cars parked below. Cultures throughout Europe have long valued the tree, too. In Poland there are many villages whose name translates as “Holy Lime”, and in Germany the name Leipzig is also a reference to the tree. Germanic communities used to celebrate and dance below the tree, but also held judicial meetings there, in the belief that the tree would help unearth the truth. In Sweden four of the thirty most common surnames contain a reference to the Lime. When young and slightly translucent the leaves are edible – as part of a salad for example. As with all foraged food, be careful with your identification.
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